Posts Tagged ‘sex discrimination’

Does existing law ban workplace bias against gays? SCOTUS will decide

My new post at Cato covers the Supreme Court’s decision to resolve three cases in which it is argued that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act bans private workplace discrimination against gay and transgender employees. I cite a 2017 Seventh Circuit showdown on the question between Judges Richard Posner and Diane Sykes: “These philosophical divides on statutory interpretation — which of course play out every term in lower-profile cases — are likely to be on the Court’s mind next fall.” More: Jared Odessky, On Labor (rounding up commentary).

Discrimination law roundup

  • Internal Google pay study “found, to the surprise of just about everyone, that men were paid less money than women for doing similar work.” [Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times] “What the Data Say About Equal Pay Day” [Chelsea Follett, Cato; Hans Bader]
  • Otherwise routine on-the-job injuries can have dire consequences for those suffering hemophilia, and a manufacturing company learns its “insurance costs could spike” as a result if it employs three hemophiliac brothers. Don’t think you can turn them away for a reason like that, says EEOC [commission press release on ADA settlement with Signature Industrial Services, LLC involving $135,000 payment and “other significant relief”]
  • Multnomah County (Portland), Oregon to pay $100,000 settlement to black worker who says she was retaliated against after complaining about “Blue Lives Matter” flag [Aimee Green, Oregonian; Blair Stenvick, Portland Mercury]
  • “The social justice madness of college campuses is now seeping into HR departments of large employers. The result is the rise of the woke corporation, and it might affect the way you work” [Toby Young, Spectator (U.K.)]
  • “The FDNY’s diversity monitor has cost the city $23 million in 7 years” [Susan Edelman, New York Post]
  • Before taking an exam required of federal employees in Canada, best to study up on intersectionality theory [Josh DeHaas on Twitter, GBA+, Tristin Hopper/National Post]

Discrimination law roundup

  • New EEOC chief data officer says machine learning algorithms may soon enable agency to predict, and deploy resources against, workplace bias before it happens [Paige Smith, Bloomberg Law]
  • “The BSO, in a statement, defended its pay structure, saying that the flute and oboe are not comparable, in part because the oboe is more difficult to play and there is a larger pool of flutists.” [Geoff Edgers, Washington Post/Allentown Morning Call]
  • Even they can’t comply: “The case was ironic since the commission is charged with eliminating discrimination in Pennsylvania.” [Matt Miller, PennLive, on the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission’s jury loss in a race discrimination complaint] “Do as they say, not as they do: employees accuse Planned Parenthood of pregnancy discrimination” [Jon Hyman]
  • Fourth Circuit: maybe Title VII doesn’t create a right to swipe files from HR [Jon Hyman]
  • Although libertarians support legalizing marijuana, they should not support laws that bar employers from discriminating on the basis of marijuana use [Jeffrey Miron, Cato]
  • “Why do women earn less than men? Evidence from train and bus operators” [Valentin Bolotnyy and Natalia Emanuel via Tyler Cowen]
  • Minnesota jury orders women’s football team and league to pay $20,000 to transgender applicant turned away [Mary Lynn Smith, Minneapolis Star Tribune]

California: “Lawyer, wife convicted in extortion plot against businesses”

“A California attorney and his wife were convicted of engaging in a scheme to extort minority, immigrant-owned businesses.” [Associated Press] “[Rogelio] Morales and [Mireya] Arias engaged in a scheme in 2016 to file ‘meritless gender discrimination lawsuits to pressure minority business owners into giving them thousands of dollars in alleged “settlements,”‘ a prosecution trial brief said. Prosecutors said Morales and Arias would obtain services from the small businesses they targeted — salons or dry cleaners — and if they were charged differently for the same service, they would file a lawsuit claiming a violation of a California anti-discrimination law, prosecutors said.” [Richard K. De Atley, Press-Enterprise (Riverside, Calif.)]

“For obvious reasons, few will talk openly about the issue.”

Stepped-up litigation and reputational risks from charges of sexual misbehavior are changing employer policies in predictable ways:

Privately, though, many of the men interviewed acknowledged they’re channeling Pence, saying how uneasy they are about being alone with female colleagues, particularly youthful or attractive ones, fearful of the rumor mill or of, as one put it, the potential liability.

A manager in infrastructure investing said he won’t meet with female employees in rooms without windows anymore; he also keeps his distance in elevators. A late-40-something in private equity said he has a new rule, established on the advice of his wife, an attorney: no business dinner with a woman 35 or younger.

“If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment,” he said, “those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint.”

[Gillian Tan and Katia Porzecanski, Bloomberg quoting Stephen Zweig, an employment attorney with FordHarrison.] For an earlier round of these issues, see this 2015 post.

October 31 roundup

  • Attempts to ban digital contraband are often fated to be both intrusive and futile [J.D. Tuccille]
  • “The Gender Pay Gap: Why We Fight The Narrative” [Ryan Bourne, Cato]
  • “He’s Back! Steven Wise’s Nonhuman Rights Project Seeks Habeas Corpus For An Elephant” [Ted Folkman, Letters Blogatory, Wise’s previous go and generally]
  • Regulatory battles between hotel industry and AirBnB spread across U.S. [Robert McCartney, Washington Post]
  • Concept of international human rights “has been swept into a broad river of campaigns for social justice, global economic development, environmental protection, multiculturalism, tolerance, access to water and sanitation, and more” and diluted in the process [James Kirchick, Commentary on new Aaron Rhodes book The Debasement of Human Rights: How Politics Sabotage the Ideal of Freedom; Cato forum from May with Rhodes, Kirchick, Roger Pilon, and Ian Vasquez; Rhodes interview with John Couretas and Caroline Roberts, Acton Institute]
  • “Pro-tip from the Third Circuit for attorneys requesting fees: Don’t have a single-spaced, 6- to 8-point font, 44-page fee petition including ‘hundreds of inappropriate, unethical entries that would likely be illegal if billed to a client.’ You might find yourself facing no fees, a sanction, and a referral to the attorney disciplinary board.” [John K. Ross, IJ Short Circuit, on Young v. Smith]

Sweden advertising ombudsman: “Distracted Boyfriend Meme” is sexist

Sweden’s advertising ombudsman has ruled the much-shared “Distracted Boyfriend Meme” improperly presents women as “sex objects” and is “a stereotypical picture of men seeing women as interchangeable”. While the industry panel itself has no power to impose a legal ban, its views might prove consequential since the Stockholm city council has enacted a ban on sexist billboards in public spaces. [Catherine Edwards, The Local]

Discrimination law roundup

  • Women-only co-working space in Washington, D.C. is packed with amenities. But is it legal? [Ally Schweitzer, WAMU]
  • Hurry up and cert: Ninth Circuit en banc rules that use of past salary history violates federal Equal Pay Act [Reuters/KFGO; Marcia McCormick, Workplace Prof]
  • Justice Ruth Ginsburg talks down idea of passing new laws in response to #MeToo harassment scandals: “We have the legal reforms — we have had them for a long time….The laws are there and the laws are in place; it takes people to step forward and use them.” [Jeffrey Rosen interview, The Atlantic]
  • “No Fingerprinting as a Religious Accommodation? Yes, Says Court” [Daniel Schwartz]
  • “Equal Pay Day Should Be in January” [Vanessa Brown Calder, Cato] “Mythbusting Paid Leave Statistics” [same] “Women who have their first child before 25 or after 35 eventually close the salary divide with their husbands,” but new moms between 25-35 don’t [Claire Cain Miller, New York Times] “When factors such as experience, industry and job level were taken into account, women earn 97.8 cents for every dollar earned by their male peers for doing the same work.” [Stephen Miller, SHRM] More: Tyler Cowen;
  • “A waiter was fired for being combative, aggressive and something of a bully. His defense? He’s not rude. He’s French and his former bosses are discriminating against his culture and heritage.” [Laura M. Holson, New York Times via Twitter]

“California Bill Would Mandate Gender Quotas For Publicly Traded Companies”

“Earlier this month, California Senators Hannah-Beth Jackson and Toni G. Atkins introduced a bill, SB 826, that would require a publicly held corporation with its principal places of business in California to have a minimum number of women directors.” [Keith Paul Bishop, Cal Corporate Law, via Prof. Bainbridge, who asks: “How is this constitutional?”]

January 3 roundup

  • California attorney known for suing bars over “ladies’ nights” sues comedian Iliza Shlesinger over “Girls Night In” show [Gene Maddaus, Variety]
  • “Jury Rejects Damages for Victims of SWAT Raid Based on Wet Tea Leaves Cops Said Was Pot” [Jacob Sullum, Radley Balko, earlier here, here, and here]
  • Before calling Star-Spangled Banner “ode to slavery,” newly inaugurated St. Paul mayor should have read my NR piece [Tad Vezner, Pioneer Press]
  • From Prof. Stephen Presser, ideas on reforming legal education [Law and Liberty]
  • Why administration’s appellate nominations tend to be all-of-a-piece while district court nominations are more a mixed bag [Jonathan Adler]
  • Some policy questions about last month’s Amtrak 501 wreck outside Seattle [Randal O’Toole, Cato and more]